Yesterday it was revealed that that the current US ("I've Got Israel's back") administration leaked to the media the specifications for the heretofore-secret US-Israel installation for Israel's Arrow 3 missiles. It was quickly called just another leak from an administration already reeling from leaks; someone apologized. But it was more likely a deliberate decision -- by someone. The constellation of players in the administration now contains a heavy contingent of those determined to bring "peace" to Israel. "Peace" is defined as the creation of the State of Palestine under whatever circumstances they can, and the operative question is how to bring Israel in line.
Leaking military secrets is actually the second step in the process -- first was Secretary of State John Kerry last month positing the absurdity that because Israel is successful, democratic and increasingly energy independent, Israelis do not care about peace: "People in Israel aren't waking up every day and wondering if tomorrow there will be peace because there is a sense of security and a sense of accomplishment and of prosperity."
The implication that Jews care more about money than peace comes ever so close to anti-Semitic caricature.
But immediately, The New York Times parroted the theme. Ethan Bronner, in Israel for a "fascinating and raucous wedding," which he also describes in lavish terms, claimed surprise that, "Few even talk about the Palestinians or the Arab world on their borders, despite the tumult and the renewed peace efforts by Secretary of State John Kerry." "Instead of focusing on what has long been seen as their central challenge -- how to share this land with another nation -- Israelis are largely ignoring it, insisting that the problem is both insoluble for now and less significant than the world thinks."
Again, the premise seems to be that as long as Israelis are rich, they don't care.
Other observers could just as reasonably conclude that Israelis believe the "central challenge" is either the continuing Palestinian insistence that the independence of Israel in 1948 was a mistake which still can be corrected, or, just as easily, the announced determination of Iran to do the correcting with a nuclear weapon.
But the "rich Jews don't care" meme appeared again this week in a meeting of a prominent Washington think tank with close State Department ties. An Israeli professor announced, "I'm not worried about a Third Intifada. I'm worried that there will be NO Third Intifada" to shake Israel out of its complacency about continuing "the occupation." Note to the Israeli professor, who lives in Boston: The Second Intifada killed 1,000 Israelis and injured 5,600 (for comparable U.S. figures, multiply by 40). It ended when Israel resumed security control of the West Bank. How many Israelis should die to make the rest of them want what you want? Do children count double? Soldiers half as much?
Kerry repeated the theme of Israeli intransigence yesterday at a meeting of the American Jewish Committee. He went further this time, blaming Israel for the radicalization of the region. "Everywhere I go -- literally, China, Japan -- foreign ministers, presidents raise this issue. Young people ask me about this conflict and what they can do to help end it... because it affects all of the recruitment and all of the arguments and radicalism that (they) face."
Does he mean us to believe that "young people" express themselves as more concerned by the absence of a Palestinian state than by 80,000 dead in Syria and the gruesome circumstances of that war? Or that foreign leaders think "the occupation" radicalizes young men in the Middle East more than the billions of dollars poured into arms, training and ideological indoctrination by Iran on the Shiite side and Qatar, Saudi Arabia on the Sunni side? Did Kerry miss al-Qaeda Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi calling Alawites and Shiites "even worse than Christians and Jews," and demanding that rebels fight Hezbollah?
Kerry appears also to believe American Jews should undermine the citizens of Israel by pressuring their government to bend to the wishes of the Obama Administration.
No one has a stronger voice in this than the American Jewish community. They can play a critical part in ensuring Israel's long-term security. And as President Obama said in Jerusalem, leaders will take bold steps ONLY if their people push them to. One can help shape the future of this process. And in the end, one can help Israel direct its destiny and be masters of its own fate.
If Israeli voices are not stronger than American voices, they should be; it is their sovereignty and their lives. When President Obama referred to "their people," one would hope he was referring to those who live, vote and pay taxes in Israel -- and who serve in its military and share its risks. Israel is indeed the "master of its own fate" and it is not the job of American Jews to "help Israel direct its destiny." They have elections over there for that.
Samantha Power, however, just named U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, does not believe Israel should be master of its own fate. She was prepared in 2002 to put a major American military presence in the West Bank to safeguard Palestinians from presumed Israeli brutality, and she was openly willing to have the United States force its will on Israel:
"Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially mean… investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. It is a terrible thing to do -- as well as fundamentally undemocratic. But… it's essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than deference to [leaders] who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people. And, unfortunately, it does require external intervention."
Is she still so inclined? She hasn't been asked, but at precisely the moment Israel's military installation specs were appearing in print to the elation of its enemies, Kerry solemnly stated, "I come here today to affirm to all of you that we are deeply committed to Israel's security."
The irony appears to have escaped him. But the Administration's frustration with Israel's view of its own security requirements is clear. And its campaign to undermine Israel's independence and security is increasingly clear as well.
Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center.